Matthew Floyd Miller and Daniel Gerroll star in the Ensemble Theatre Company's production of 'Sleuth.' | Credit: Zach Mendez

Ensemble Theatre Company concludes its 2021-22 season with Anthony Shaffer’s popular thriller, Sleuth. Directed by Jenny Sullivan, Sleuth features two men in a battle of wills and wits, as they vie for dominance in a psychological game. Sullivan calls this play, “a twisting, turning, comedic thrill ride that’s part psychological thriller and part murder mystery…but does a murder actually take place? This calls for the audience to participate as sleuths.”

Andrew Wyke (Daniel Gerroll) is a successful mystery writer who lives in a large manor full of artifacts that allude to his preoccupation with games and intrigue. He invites his wife’s lover, Milo Tindle (Matthew Floyd Miller), to the manor, ostensibly to stage a jewelry heist. Tindle wants to convince Wyke to sign divorce papers to free up the current Mrs. Wyke for a new marriage. “Wyke is the embodiment of reactionary charm and nostalgic creativity,” says Gerroll of his character. “Milo starts off as a necessary irritant, but circumstances elevate the young man to a place of colloidal symbiosis.”

The action in Sleuth takes place in Wyke’s home, a massive, impressive set. “Since Andrew Shaffer is obsessed with games and is also a writer of detective crime novels, the set works as a puzzle to reveal these aspects of the play,” says Sullivan. “It is a giant game board with lots of surprises.”

Written in 1970, this play, which touches on issues related to social class designations, remains relevant today. Sullivan describes the play as “a tight whodunnit” that focuses on the characters’ one-upmanship with steadily mounting stakes. “The metaphor of a tennis match is a good one,” says Sullivan. “You play better against a worthy opponent.”

Sleuth runs at Santa Barbara’s New Vic Theater from June 9 to June 26. For tickets and more information, visit

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